Dr. Nabi Darya Vali (AIIMS)MBBS

December 05, 2018

March 06, 2020


What is myocarditis?

The inflammation of the heart muscle, also known as myocardium, is called myocarditis. Unlike other heart diseases, lifestyle does not play a role in the occurrence of this condition. No method for the prevention of myocarditis is available yet. In most instances, individuals with myocarditis recover without any complications, but in rare cases, there can be damage to the heart. However, it only occurs in severe inflammatory cases.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

The following symptoms may be observed after one to two weeks of infection:

  • Difficulty breathing with exercise or exertion
  • Tightness and stabbing pain in the chest that later spreads to the entire body
  • Difficulty in breathing while resting
  • Irregular heart rhythm (Read more: Tachycardia causes)
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Flu-like symptoms, e.g., fatigue, tiredness, and high temperature
  • Sudden loss of consciousness

What are its main causes?

Although sometimes the cause of myocarditis may remain unknown, the known causes are:

  • Common causes: Viruses, e.g., the virus responsible for upper respiratory tract infections
  • Less common causes: Contagious diseases such as Lyme disease
  • Rare causes: Use of cocaine, exposure to toxic agents like snake bites, spider bites, and metal poisons.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

In most cases, myocarditis does not produce any symptoms and remains undiagnosed. However, if an individual experiences symptoms of myocarditis, the following diagnostic measures can be taken:

  • Electrocardiogram: To study the electrical activity of your heart
  • Echocardiogram: To create an image of your heart and analyse the flow of blood
  • Chest X-ray: To study the structure of the heart and lungs for any structural changes
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): To analyse the image of your heart
  • Heart biopsy: Occasionally performed to confirm the diagnosis.

The following treatment methods are generally prescribed for myocarditis:

  • Medications used for treating heart failure
  • Low-salt diet
  • Rest
  • Steroids to reduce inflammation
  • Counselling is useful for psychological support to the individual with myocarditis.


  1. Myocarditis Foundation [Internet]: Kingwood, Texas; Discover Myocarditis Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.
  2. National Organization for Rare Disorders [Internet]; Myocarditis.
  3. British Heart Foundation [Internet]: London, United Kingdom; Myocarditis.
  4. Schultz JC, Hilliard AA, Cooper LT Jr, Rihal CS. Diagnosis and Treatment of Viral Myocarditis. Mayo Clin Proc. 2009 Nov;84(11):1001-9. PMID: 19880690
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Myocarditis.
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